14 September 2017

A Little About Me - What I Do

For those of you who are newer to the blog, I thought I would start a mini weekly series to help you all get to know me a little better.  As I am about to transition from one job to a new one, I thought I would tell you a bit about what I do and where I've done it!

To start, when I was a little girl I wanted to be a majorette.  My grandmother fundraised for the high school band and my uncle was the football coach, so I spent my younger years around the cheerleaders and majorettes and color guard.  I was like a mini mascot and thought it was what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Around 8 or 9 I thought maybe I wanted to be a secretary, then a dance teacher.  The dance teacher idea hung around until high school when I thought I might want to be a pediatric oncologist after watching a St. Jude special on tv.

By the time I got to college I had settled on becoming a lawyer with the lofty aspiration of Supreme Court Justice.  That morphed into working for the State Department (I was a Russian Studies minor in college).  Around that time I came to the realization that I could make working at a college my full time job.  I knew that colleges had faculty and presidents and deans, but until I was a work study for the housing office, it didn't click for me that this was something I could make a career.

I asked my supervisor at my work study job how she got to be where she was (an Assistant Director of Housing).  She explained she got her Masters in Higher Education and at that point I knew what I wanted to do.

Enter Ohio State.

O-H-I-O!  I had no idea what I was getting myself into and I would love to do those 2 years over again.  There is nothing like Big 10 football and I was in an amazing cohort of people.  I graduated with a Masters in Higher Education and took my first full-time professional job in New York at St. John's University.

I was a Complex Director responsible for two residence halls there.  I was working for someone I respected and admired, even though I wasn't intending to make housing my lifelong career aspiration.  I moved in to my complex in June of 2001.  I worked with RAs, with student government, and I helped to revamp and revise their housing conduct procedures.  My sister would tell her friends that I was a professional RA.

And then I got realtime experience in emergency management.  It was a gorgeous Tuesday morning, a little after 8:30am.  I was in a meeting with my Assistant Complex Director when one of the other ACDs called over to me.  She said "turn on the Today Show, right now."  I laughed, thinking she meant NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys were on.  Oh how I wish that was the case.  That morning was September 11, 2001 and I don't think I stopped moving for the next three days.  I'll tell that story in further detail another time, but that day definitely shaped my experience living in New York.

About 2 months later, a plane crashed in Queens after taking off from LaGuardia Airport.  And at that point I wanted to be closer to home.  

I accepted a job as an Assistant Director of Student Conduct at Bentley University in Massachusetts.  This was the kind of job I wanted coming out of grad school.  Student conduct - hearings, training board members, working with students on their choices.  Why did you decide to drink that night?  Why did you have a fourth beer?  What was your rational for...?  I had a great time there and I learned a lot.  Such driven students - they all had a business plan.  It was amazing.  After three years though, I wanted a little more responsibility.

That brought me to the Boston Conservatory.  I was an Assistant Dean there and I was responsible for housing, student activities, and student conduct.  I had a darling little studio apartment right on The Fenway in Boston, just a stone's throw from Fenway Park.  It was a great job.  I worked with such talented students!  And if you are into the arts, you could not do better than to work at BoCo.  I was starting to realize though that while I was good at my job and was getting things done, the things I LOVED about my job, only took up about 10-15% of my job.  I loved the software, the room inventories, the facilities aspects, the budgeting - the administrative stuff.  As an introvert, being in Student Affairs means you are on a lot!  Programs and meetings and phone calls and a lot of time in front of people.  And I was constantly drained.  I started to look closer at other departments and realized that Records and Registration would be a better fit.

I am forever grateful to LSU Alexandria for taking a chance and hiring me as their Registrar when I had never worked in a Registrar Office before.  It was crazy!  I had no idea what I was doing.  I was miserable.  I needed to backtrack a bit.  While I loved the people I worked with, I knew I needed to move somewhere else and really learn the ropes.

And that's how I landed at Duke.  Sigh.  I loved working at Duke.  I had such a great experience there - personally and professionally.  I loved North Carolina.  I still do.  I learned everything I needed to know about being a Registrar at Duke.  They gave me a great foundation.  So good, that I was given the opportunity to essentially create my own Registrar Office at my next job.

I was dating someone long distance at the time and I knew if we were going to see if it was going to work out, we needed to be in the same place.  He was in school in Texas, so I started looking for jobs and was hired as the Registrar at a new school.  That's right, UNT was opening their new 4 year school in Dallas.  And I got to create my office.  It's something you hear in higher ed a lot - if I could start from scratch, or if I could create my own office.  I could!  I did!  It was a crazy learning experience but I worked with some fantastic people who are incredibly dedicated to their students and their work.  And it's where I first fell in love with Texas.   But it was hard, and I was getting burned out.  

I accepted the position of Registrar at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and went home.  It was the perfect time to be there.  My niece was born a few months after I moved back and got to be there for her whole first year.  After my first winter back in New England though, I knew I would eventually move back to the South.  I thought maybe 3 years or so down the road when the right position came along at the right time.  I didn't want to go somewhere new.  I was tired of recreating my life each time I moved.  I narrowed my search to Dallas, Austin, Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, and Washington DC.  That was it.  I thought it would take a few years.  It took 6 months.

Tarrant County College hired me as their District Director of Admissions and Records.  And that is how I ended up back in DFW.  And I am so happy to be here.  So what do I do?  I oversee all of the admissions processing for the District.  Over 60,000 applications a year.  I also oversee our records department.  Basically everything related to a student record except for actual registration.  Think grades, transcripts, degrees and graduations, records, address changes, major changes, transcript evaluation - that's what my office does.  Tons of committees, lots of projects, lots of work to help students become successful and achieve!  I have loved working at TCC these last four years.  Amazing people, fantastic students, so much opportunity.  And my last day is September 29.  I am moving on to become the Registrar at the University of Texas at Arlington.  

It really is bittersweet.  I have loved working at TCC, it's hard to leave a place you love, but I am also excited for the new opportunity at UTA.

Okay, so that was more than a little, ha!  But now you have an idea of my long and winding journey to Texas, my adopted home.  

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